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What are the do’s and don’ts in Bangkok?

Ah, Bangkok, where the spicy food can set your taste buds on fire, the traffic can test your patience, and the warm smiles can melt your heart.

Whether you’re planning to explore the labyrinth of Khao San Road or seek inner peace at Wat Arun, there are unspoken rules to navigate this bustling urban jungle.

So, please put on your adventure hat (and your most comfortable pair of shoes) as we embark on a fun and enlightening journey to discover the do’s and don’ts in the City of Angels, Bangkok.

Buckle up, dear wanderer; it will be a wild ride!

do's and don'ts in Bangkok

Bangkok, the vibrant capital of Thailand, is a popular destination for tourists worldwide.

To make the most of your trip and show respect for the local culture, here are some do’s and don’ts to keep in mind:


Dress Respectfully:

When visiting temples and other religious sites, it’s essential to dress modestly. Avoid revealing clothing like short shorts, tank tops, and low-cut tops.

Wearing clothes that cover your shoulders and knees is recommended.

Remove Shoes:

Before entering temples, homes, and some shops, removing your shoes is customary as a sign of respect.

Follow the locals’ lead and leave your footwear in the designated area.

Greet with a Wai:

The traditional Thai greeting, known as a “wai,” involves placing your palms together prayerfully and slightly bowing your head.

This is a polite way to greet people, especially elders and those in positions of authority.

Respect the Monarchy:

Thais hold their royal family in high regard. Avoid making any disrespectful comments or gestures towards the monarchy.

Haggle Politely:

While bargaining is common in markets and some shops, do so with politeness and a friendly attitude. Aggressive haggling can be seen as rude.

Use Both Hands:

When giving or receiving items from someone, especially money, use both hands to show respect and politeness.

Treat Buddha Images with Respect:

Buddha statues and images are sacred in Thailand.

Please do not climb on them or take inappropriate photos; never use them as decoration.

Eat with a Spoon:

Using a spoon to convey food to your mouth when eating local dishes.

Forks are generally used to push food onto the spoon but avoid using your fork to bring food to your mouth directly.

Try Street Food:

Bangkok is famous for its delicious street food.

Don’t hesitate to try local dishes from street vendors, but ensure the food is cooked freshly in front of you to ensure hygiene.

Keep Noise Levels Down:

Thais value harmony and tranquility. Keep your voice down in public spaces and avoid causing disturbances.


Smiling is seen as a sign of friendliness and politeness in Thailand.

Show your joy for the country by flashing your best smile! And the best part? It’s free!

Always ask before taking pictures of people:

In Thailand, asking for permission before taking pictures of people is considered polite.

Always be respectful and make sure to receive a positive response from your subject before snapping away.

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Public Displays of Affection:

Avoid kissing, hugging, or holding hands in public, as it can be considered inappropriate in Thai culture.

Point Your Feet:

The feet are considered the lowest part of the body in Thai culture, both literally and figuratively. Avoid pointing your feet at people or religious objects.

Disrespecting Buddha Images:

As mentioned earlier, treat Buddha images with respect. Please don’t use them for decorative purposes or touch them inappropriately.

Raise Your Voice:

Raising your voice or showing anger in public is frowned upon and can cause a loss of face for both parties.

Disrespecting Monks:

If you encounter a Buddhist monk, show respect by not touching him and giving them space.

Public Nudity:

Walking around in swimwear or revealing clothing outside the beach or pool areas is considered disrespectful.

Disrespecting the King:

Criticizing or disrespecting the Thai royal family, including the king, can have serious legal consequences.

Touching People’s Heads:

The head is considered the most sacred part of the body in Thai culture. Touching someone’s head, even playfully, is seen as disrespectful.


Keep the streets clean by disposing of trash properly. Littering can result in fines.

Don’t Use Feet for Anything:

Don’t use your feet to move objects, open doors, or interact with things. Always use your hands for such tasks.

Don’t ask the Thais about Politic:

Politics is a sensitive subject in Thailand, so avoid talking or asking about it. This could lead to unpleasant conversations and may create an uncomfortable situation.

Remember that cultural norms and customs can vary, so observing and adapting to local behaviors will help you have a more enjoyable and respectful experience in Bangkok.

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What should a tourist not do in Thailand?

Tourists must know certain cultural norms and practices when exploring Bangkok to ensure a respectful and harmonious experience.

One important guideline is to avoid pointing fingers or toes at people or objects, which is considered impolite in Thai culture.

Additionally, it’s crucial not to flush toilet paper in the toilet systems but instead dispose of it in the provided bins.

Drinking tap water is also discouraged, so opt for bottled or purified water to stay hydrated.

Regarding animal experiences, it’s best to refrain from riding elephants or attending animal shows that may exploit animals for entertainment.

In religious places, such as temples, it’s advised not to wear clothes that reveal too much skin, as this shows respect for the sanctity of these spaces.

Lastly, it might be tempting to buy Buddha statues, but it’s essential not to take them out of Thailand, as this action is considered disrespectful to Thai beliefs and cultural heritage.

Don’t worry – You can still buy Buddhas, but the ones you can find in shopping markets and shops, which are small and made for tourists, don’t buy those made for temples.

By adhering to these guidelines, tourists can navigate Bangkok with cultural sensitivity and contribute positively to their overall travel experience.

In conclusion

Bangkok is an incredible city with its own unique culture and customs.

To ensure a harmonious and respectful experience, tourists should be mindful of the do’s and don’ts mentioned above – from respecting local beliefs to using proper manners when interacting with people.

By considering these tips, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in fully Bangkok’s vibrant culture and create memorable experiences. Happy travels!

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Matan Cohen

Hi, I'm Matan and I'm passionate about exploring the world. Bangkok is my favorite place - the sights, sounds, flavors and hospitality there are truly captivating! I'm an adventerous spirit who loves discovering new cultures and immersing myself in different environments. When I'm not traveling, you can find me reading a good book or enjoying some outdoor activities with friends.

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About Me
About Me

Hi, I’m Matan! I’m a world traveler passionate about exploring the beauty and culture that cities around the globe have to offer.

My favorite city in the world is Bangkok – it’s truly a magical place with its vibrant nightlife, fantastic food, diverse culture, and fascinating attractions. Whenever I visit Bangkok, I find something new and exciting to discover!

It’s my favorite destination worldwide, and I always look forward to my next opportunity to explore this incredible city.

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